At the end of last summer, we decided it was time to give the family cottage a makeover. This being a weekend property and with the fall looming ahead of us, we wanted to complete the makeover on a budget and quickly.
With a bit of effort, we managed to get the cottage looking and feeling like new! The changes we made weren't drastic but they had a great impact on bringing the cottage up to date. I thought I'd share a few our improvements in case you're planning your own makeover, cottage or otherwise, on a budget.
1. The Power of White Paint
There's nothing easier to brighten up a space than white paint. The fireplace wall was clad in cedar and had been kept in its original state until now. We made the decision to finally paint over the wood in a warm white to make the cottage feel more expansive and light. The white paint tied the fireplace wall in with the newer bathroom wall and had the benefit of making the fireplace a real focal point.
2. Add Comfort
Cottages have a reputation for being the place you bring your unwanted furniture. Old beds, old sofas, old linens... somehow, they all end up here. While these pieces may be functional, they're not always comfortable. We made this bedroom feel new by adding the comforts of home. New pillows, bedsheets and throws made the beds much more appealing and stylish while adding warmth and coziness for those cool cottage nights.
3. Clear The Clutter
I admit I'm easily creeped out by the many critters and insects you find at the cottage. Nooks and crannies always seem to me to be breeding ground for scary little bugs. So, I like things to be visible and well lit. We eliminated unnecessary baskets and boxes and cleared the clutter atop the kitchen cabinets. Dust-collecting vases and knickknacks were tossed out but we added a few simple art pieces on the wall to keep the rooms from feeling too bare.
4. Define the Function
This room used to be the dumping ground. Sean's childhood bunk bed which hadn't been used in over thirty years took up much of the space and scattered piles of tools, old cans of paint, and junk made the room feel dark and dreary. We cleared out the clutter and reclaimed the room, giving it a fresh coat of paint, new carpet, and a new function as a neat and organized storage room and office. Matching armoires hold tools and off-season linens. We decorated with what we had, using the old water skis and metal trunks to lend a retro vibe. Even the board games stacked on the high shelf add a touch of cottage charm.
5. Refine the Layout
Until recently, the cottage had one sofa and two armchairs from the seventies. The seats were worn, the springs were sagging, and we never got to enjoy sitting together comfortably. Switching the sofa and chairs for a sectional allowed us to create this living room zone. In an open concept room, defining different functional areas using furniture, rugs, and lighting maximizes your use of the space. Reorienting the sofa to face the fireplace was also a nice change and I think made us appreciate the roaring fires even more.
6. Update Your Lighting
Changing your lighting is another simple yet effective way to update a room. We switched the old bowl shaped fixture for this modern farmhouse chandelier. Not only does it catch less bugs (eww!) than the old light, but its open airy design is more clean-lined and contemporary. We also replaced the lightbulbs in the hanging pendants with higher wattage ones and added table lamps in each of the rooms to eliminate dark corners.
With these few changes, the cottage felt reinvigorated. And it took only a weekend to get things looking new - we should have made these changes sooner!